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DSK court hearing delayed to late August

A possibly crucial court hearing due next Monday in the sex crime case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been postponed for three weeks, lawyers said on Tuesday.

The hearing in New York State Supreme Court had already been delayed from July 18th to August 1th. It is now set for August 23rd.

Lawyers for the fallen French politician and former head of the International Monetary Fund called on prosecutors to drop charges by the time of the hearing.

“We have consented to a postponement of the status hearing before Judge Obus from August 1st to August 23rd,” Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman said.

“We understand the district attorney is continuing to investigate. We hope that by August 23rd he will have reached the decision to dismiss.”

However, the District Attorney’s office said only that “the investigation into this pending criminal case is continuing.”

No reason was given for the repeated delay.

However, the once seemingly strong case against Strauss-Kahn, who is accused of forcing a New York hotel chambermaid into oral sex, has hit major snags since the start of this month.

Speculation is growing that prosecutors may drop charges or take other measures to avoid a trial, given worries they have expressed publicly over the maid’s credibility.

The delayed court hearing had been expected to handle critical issues, including the setting of a trial date.

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TRIAL

Ghosn trial may be delayed until next year: Japanese media

Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's trial, which was expected to begin in September, will be delayed, local media said Saturday, hinting that it may not start this year.

Ghosn trial may be delayed until next year: Japanese media
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn leaving a detention centre on Thursday. Photo: Behrouz Mehri / AFP
The 65-year-old tycoon, currently on bail, is preparing for his trial on four charges of financial misconduct ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.
   
The Tokyo District Court had proposed to start his trial in September during its pre-trial meetings with his defence lawyers and prosecutors, news reports said, quoting unnamed sources.
   
But the court told the lawyers and prosecutors on Friday that it had retracted the plan without proposing a new time frame, Kyodo News said, adding that the move could mean the trial will not start this year.
   
The court also decided not to separate the trial for Ghosn, his close aide Greg Kelly and Nissan — all indicted on the charge of violating the financial instruments law by underreporting Ghosn's compensation, according to Kyodo.
   
His lawyers have so far demanded he be tried separately from Nissan and have voiced fears he will not receive a fair trial.
   
The Sankei Shimbun also said prosecutors gave up filing an appeal to the Supreme Court against his bail, a move to erasing a chance of his return to jail unless he is arrested again on fresh charges. Immediate confirmation of the news reports was not available.
   
On Thursday, Ghosn exited his Tokyo detention centre after accepting bail of $4.5 million under strict conditions, including restrictions on seeing his wife.
   
His case has captivated Japan and the business community with its multiple twists and turns, as well as shone a spotlight on the Japanese justice system which critics say is overly harsh.
   
Ghosn denies all the charges, with a spokesperson for the executive saying on Monday he would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.
   
In a statement hours after his release, Ghosn said: “No person should ever be indefinitely held in solitary confinement for the purpose of being forced into making a confession.”
   
The dramatic case has thrown international attention onto the Japanese justice system, derided by critics as “hostage justice” as it allows prolonged detention and relies heavily on suspects' confessions.
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